This is just a quick article to reflect the amount of time we actually spent inside the Subantarctic Plant House. It’s a very cold place; but that’s exactly what you’d expect from such an unusual tourist attraction.

Subantarctic Plant House - Hobart

Cold: Subantarctic Plant House, Hobart

Subantarctic Plant House: Very Cool Feature!

We’ve read criticisms via online review sites about the Subantarctic Plant House… it’s too cold for comfort, apparently. Geez! How else would you showcase plants from subantarctic islands in such an easily accessible location? This once-off collection grows inside a tiny, climatically-controlled building at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart.

You realise before entering the space must be a small one. A sign on the door caps visitor numbers (to 15 people at once, from memory). Once inside, it’s a quick lap around a small boardwalk, which includes a wooden bridge.

Subantarctic Plant House - Plants

Plants from Macquarie Island

Imitating real-world conditions, the Subantarctic Plant House is chilly. Expect a foggy room with a cool, damp environment. Also expect a fascinating insight into a far-away foreign place, with sounds to match.

Subantarctic Plant House - Mural

Sounds and the temperature to support sights

Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

The page detailing the Subantarctic Plant House on the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens website advises that…

Visitors will hear the sounds of wildlife from the Island during various seasons, including an Elephant seal harem, fur seals, colonies of various species of penguins, albatross and skuas, as well as the ever-present wind and rain.

Subantarctic Plant House - Penguins

Subantarctic Plant House mural featuring penguins

Combined with an icy temperature, the audio captured at Macquarie Island makes the Subantarctic Plant House a realistic experience. The plants were also collected during field trips to Macquarie Island by staff and scientists connected with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.

This may be a quickie when it comes to tourist attractions in Tasmania, but the Subantarctic Plant House in Hobart is the only one of its kind in the world. We think that makes it pretty impressive, and found the site quite a fascinating place to visit.

Subantarctic Plant House - Cold

Cold: once-off experience right in Hobart

Hobart’s Antarctic Connection

Besides the Subantarctic Plant House, visitors may want to allow additional time to discover other RTBG features, including the Japanese Garden. We’ve featured that particular section on the website before, and we have even more interesting snippets still to share with Think Tasmania readers. We have photos of orchids, birds and the fountain in the conservatory, for example.

Subantarctic Plant House - Tasmania

Tasmania’s Antarctic on show: Hobart Tasmania

Of course, if you’re more interested in Hobart’s Antarctic connection (as opposed to gardens in general) there’s always other places to explore…

  • “Islands to Ice” is a permanent exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
  • Polar Pathways Walking and Driving Tours, and in particular the Hobart waterfront featuring “life-size bronze statues commemorating the exploits of Antarctic explorers”
  • Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum, newly opened and also located on Hobart’s waterfront to celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the departure from Hobart of the Australasian Antarctic expedition 1911-14 led by Douglas Mawson
  • The Australian Antarctic Division has a visitor centre promising “a wealth of information about the scientific research and logistical support involved in Australia’s Antarctic program”

The Australian Antarctic Division visitor centre is on our wish list of places to visit in Hobart.

Islands to Ice - Sculpture

Islands to Ice: Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart

Subantarctic Plant House - Mawson's Hut Museum

Mawson’s Hut Replica Museum: Hobart Tasmania

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Map: Subantarctic Plant House, Hobart

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